Tooth decay is a preventable disease caused by a combination of plaque, sugar consumption and poor oral hygiene. The germs living in plaque turn the sugar in the food and drinks your child consumes into acid. This acid damages the enamel layer of your child’s teeth creating a cavity with repeated acid attacks.
Preventing tooth decay is as simple as keeping your child’s teeth clean and keeping sugar intake to a bare minimum. Good oral hygiene and diet habits can be taught to your child at a very early age. Being in control of your child’s diet and routine makes this even easier. If you educate your child on how tooth decay begins they will have a better understanding of why good oral hygiene and diet is very important.
It is okay if your child has the occasional sweet treat, but it shouldn’t be a regular part of their diet. It’s not good to allow your child to snack on sweets or sip sweet drinks throughout the day. It’s better for your child’s oral health if they consume sweet treats in one sitting then rinse their mouth with water.
Tooth enamel is at its weakest when a tooth first erupts. For this reason, tooth brushing begins when your child’s first tooth appears. This is very important before a day sleep and night time when saliva flow is greatly reduced. From the age of two years, you should be brushing your child’s teeth twice a day using a pea-size amount of children’s toothpaste.
Common areas for plaque to accumulate and cavities to form is near the gum line, in the groves on the biting surface and between the teeth. Tooth brushing alone doesn’t clean between teeth, therefore it is good practice to begin flossing contact points at least once a day when your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt. This will not only prevent a cavity from forming between the teeth but will become a good oral hygiene routine.
By the age of two your child should be visiting the dentist for routine check-ups. It is ideal to prevent cavities from developing or treat a small cavity before it causes your child discomfort.